Last Week’s Links

Hunter S. Thompson and the Sanity of Writers

A short appreciation of writer Hunter S. Thompson, who often claimed to have done much of his writing “half out of his skull,” under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

This link is worth clicking just to see the illustrations.

THE GENERATION THAT GREW UP ON STEPHEN KING IS TAKING HIM BACK

Stephen KingRandall Colburn celebrates the fact that directors who grew up as fans of Stephen King’s work are now bringing his work to both the big and the little screen. Colburn says of this renaissance:

Credit its origins with the commercial success of CBS’s Under the Dome, the critical acclaim of Hulu’s 11/22/63, or the clear homage emanating from Netflix’s Stranger Things, but it was last year’s seismic It that truly catapulted King back onto the A-list. In its first weekend, Andy Muschietti’s adaptation had the best September opening of all-time, the best opening ever for a Stephen King adaptation, and the best opening for any R-rated horror movie.

Colburn says that earlier film adaptations of King’s works placed more importance on those works’ covers—the King name—than their contents. But the current renaissance aims at the truth of King’s world:

But ask any Constant Reader [King’s term his for diehard fans] and they’ll tell you the same thing: They don’t just read King to get scared. They read him for the characters, the settings, the story.

One of the products of this King renaissance is Hulu’s series Castle Rock, based on the King universe. Colburn mentions the series, and you can read a more focused review of it here.

A Crime Writer’s Guide to Writing About Death and Murder

As the article title suggests, novelist Owen Hill’s piece is directed toward crime writers. But I often find articles directed toward writers useful for readers as well, since the advice given to writers can help readers understand what effects authors are aiming for and what techniques they’re using to create those effects.

For example, Hill writes:

What’s your approach? I think it’s best to start with an understanding of the reader’s expectations. Mysteries aren’t poetry or experimental prose. They are audience oriented. Who are you trying to reach? Is the body in the next room discovered off stage, or described in great detail? Is the narrator at the scene? Do you jump right in, like Chester Himes’s Real Cool Killers, (“The little knifeman slashed his throat and severed his red tie neatly just below the knot”)? Or do you use some version of the “body in the library” cliché? Do you want to subvert the rules of the genre, or go with the flow?

After all, “The mystery novel is perhaps the only place where we can have fun with violent death.”

How Finland Rebranded Itself as a Literary Country

Before 2007, Finland’s global notoriety came from Nokia phones. But when Apple’s iPhone rang Nokia’s death knell, “the Finns set out as a nation to find the ‘next Nokia.’”

They found their next branded product in literary fiction:

“Finnish literature had matured to a point where it could reach international readers,” said Tiia Strandén, director of FILI, the Finnish Literature Exchange, a not-for-profit organization that has promoted Finnish writing abroad for more than forty years. Strandén credited Oksanen for opening foreign publishers’ eyes to what Finnish literature could do.

The Book That Terrified Neil Gaiman. And Carmen Maria Machado. And Dan Simmons.

We asked 13 authors to recommend the most frightening books they’ve ever read. Here’s what they chose.

I’ve read several of the books listed here, but a few I had never even heard of.

Are you brave enough to add some of these titles to your reading list?

© 2018 by Mary Daniels Brown

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